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News Commentary – Hope, Uncertainty As Osun Awaits August 9

By Oyewale Oyelola

Just about 20 days to the gubernatorial election in Osun state; hope, uncertainty, anxiety, alliance formation, accusations and counter-accusations aptly describe political activities in the state.

It is no longer news that the election would hold August 9, 2014 but the activities of the main political gladiators in the state are attracting attention of both local and international political observers.

Governor Aregbesola of Osun state (L) and Sen. Iyiola Omisore

Governor Aregbesola of Osun state (L) and Sen. Iyiola Omisore

Incumbent governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Iyiola Omisore who is the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Akinwunmi, former PDP state chairman, Secretary to the State Government and Labour Party flag bearer and other 16 candidates are eyeing the Abere government house as Aregbesola ends his first term in October.

According to INEC, over 700,000 out 1.2million registered voters have collected their permanent voter’s cards (PVC) that are required to vote in the election.  Recall that the electoral body in a press statement during the week insisted that electorates without PVC will not be allowed to vote.

Also, INEC in its bid to ensure credible, free and fair election directed controversial Osun state Resident Electoral Commission, Amb. Rufus Akeju to proceed on leave over PDP’s allegation of unholy relationship with APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Meanwhile, the two main political parties in the state; PDP and APC are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their victory come August 9. The ruling APC in the state having suffered a back breaking defeat in Ekiti state where PDP governorship candidate,  Ayodele Fayose defeated incumbent governor Fayemi with over 60,000 votes in June 21 election, the party is therefore not taking anything for granted.

APC leaders alongside national chairman of the party visited former governor Olagunsoye Oyimlola to solicit his support for Aregbesola’s second term ambition. Oyinlola on his part has a score to settle with the PDP national leadership. He has been on legal battle with his party to reinstate him as the national secretary after several judgments in his favor. Political analysts opine that Oyinlola might work against PDP in the election, despite the plea by President Goodluck Jonathan for him to work for senator Iyiola Omisore.   They noted this might the right time to take his pond of flesh from the PDP.

Aregbesola, on June formally welcome first civilian governor of Osun state,  Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke who dumped PDP after he failed to secure the party governorship ticket in April 5. Adeleke pulled out of PDP primary election as he alleged Omisore and Minister of Police Affairs,  Jelili Adesiyan of harassment .

The Ede born political has since then been mobilising his supporters in all the 30 local governments of the for Aregbesola’s re-election. Adeleke’s defection has polarized his hometown, where PDP deputy governorship candidate, Adejare Bello hails from. Some people are supporting Bello while other groups are willing to work for APC to punish Omisore for humiliating their highly respected Asiwaju of Ede.

The PDP governorship candidate,  Iyiola Omisore recently changed his political approach after Ekiti election. Omisore is now mingling with the masses during his campaign tour/rallies. He now go to campaigns with bicycle like Ekiti governor-elect,. He also buys things from market women to show he cares.

Omisore without doubt is a grassroots politician. In 2003, he won Osun East senatorial seat from prison. The PDP flagbearer campaign tours are moving to all towns and villages in the state to intimate electorates about his rescue mission agenda.  The two terms senator and one time deputy governor in the state, accused Aregbesola of running a cosmetic government painted with media propaganda even as he alleged that the incumbent has incurred a huge debt for the state to finance his islamic agenda like school merger which is causing religion disputes in the state.

As the nation keeps eye on Ipinle Omoluabi, several factors will determine who wins the election.  Although,  Osun in term of religion is mixed,  with Christians and Muslims as majority. Aregbesola is a practising muslim and that will work to his advantage in Muslim populated area while Omisore, a Christian might get  votes from Christian voters.

Another factor is that the leading candidates are from Osun East (Ife/Ijesha) senatorial district, meaning that both Ogbeni and Omisore will share votes in largest voting area of the state.

The APC is desperate to retain southwest to keep their 2015 presidency dream alive, as defeat in Osun election implies the main opposition party will be heading for the general elections with only 13 governors with impeachment of governor Nyako of Adamawa, this aside Nasarawa governor who is facing impeachment threat.

Performance of incumbent governor and his relationship with civil servants will likely determine how vote will swing in Osun. Anyway, let’s wait and see, the count down starts now, Osun decides on August 9.


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